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Film Information

Plot: On a holiday retreat two friends look back at their lives, loves, successes and failures.
Release Date: 30th May 2016
Format: Blu-ray | DVD | VOD
Director(s): Paolo Sorrentino
Cast: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, Jane Fonda and Mark Kozelek
BBFC Certificate: 15
Running Time: 2hrs 4mins
Country Of Origin: Italy | France | UK | Switzerland
Language: English | Swiss German | Spanish with English subtitles
Review By: Alex Moss
Film Rating


Bottom Line

Sometimes a little fuzzy around the edges Youth is a poignant essay on growing old and looking back that inspires through gorgeous visuals and enchanting performances.

Posted May 24, 2016 by

Film Review

After the majesty of The Great Beauty the world waited, with baited breath, as to what Paolo Sorrentino would do next. His follow-up Youth shares much in common with his last opus. That sense of looking back at life, of finding ways of appreciating what has gone while savouring the moment in the here and now. The title is ironic, that while these old men look back at their lives and the lessons they’ve learned youth is wasted on the young.

Fred Ballinger (Michael Caine) is a world renowned composer holidaying in a celebrity retreat in the French Alps. Accompanying him is his best friend and film director Mick Boyle (Harvey Keitel) who is preparing for his latest film and his daughter Lena (Rachel Weisz) who is going through a marital break-up. Meanwhile actor Jimmy Tree (Paul Dano) is preparing for his latest role.

As you would expect from Sorrentino Youth is a film of staggering beauty. His lethargic, precise and almost guarded camera moves throughout the retreat capturing the finest of moments in the most delicate of ways. The script has that uncanny ability to allow the actors to say very little but communicate so much.

The film finds ways to delicately tease its themes and characters out. At times, normally during flourishes of music, Sorrentino rams home the point a little too hard. For much of the film he dances around his subjects, hinting at things while teasing the characters’ incentives and desires, but from time to time he feels the need to state the obvious.

Throughout there is a sense of serenity mixed with nostalgia and agony. A form of purgatory in which the occupants are struggling to remember who they were while holding on to the identity they have assumed for themselves.

Michael Caine is on stunning form. His performance here is quiet, distilled to often little more than a series of subtle reactions but, as only Caine can, he always has that slight twinkle in his eye, for the most part it’s that sense that he’s in on a joke we’re not a part of. At others it’s full of sorrow and aching that is often difficult to behold. Keitel is solid but the character always feels slightly two dimensional. Meanwhile Paul Dano steals every scene he is in. His brooding, arrogant actor masks the deep insecurities and disappointment in not only his fans but his own choices. When he and Caine share the screen there is a sense of two men looking at life from opposite ends of the age spectrum but with the same sense of regret.

Sometimes a little fuzzy around the edges Youth is a poignant essay on growing old and looking back that inspires through gorgeous visuals and enchanting performances.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email:


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